Archive for the ‘Imagination Fair’ tag
A few years ago, I attended a conference in Chicago and for part of the morning, a group of us walked in pairs through the streets, one with their eyes closed, and the other, well, making sure they didn’t fall over. We were listening to the sound of the city and after each of our turns, we would write notes about what we so intently ‘heard’, the sounds that make up space and in turn, create place. I will never forget the sound of stilettos on a marble floor inside a large atrium. As we move through space, we fill it with musical notes of our own. Our own little community symphony. Next time you’re sitting still or even walking with someone, try it. Close your eyes and listen to the music of place.
Now, if you were lucky enough to see the Laser Harps at this month’s Imagination Fair, then you have probably already experienced the ways in which our movements in space also interact with waves of light to create particular sounds and forms of music. At the North Carolina Museum of Life and Science, they have a soundSpace, where people can “…’play’ the room as if it were a musical instrument” as Scott Lindroth, Associate Professor of Music at Duke University puts it. The more you move in the space, the more the music comes to life as your movements are captured on web cameras positioned around the installation. Such an interactive installation adds new meaning to composing live performances in an unusual amalgamation of dance and music mutually creating each other. For a wonderful video on how children respond to such a space, see below.
As you’ve probably guessed by reading this far, there is an intimate relationship between sound, space and place, not to mention who we get to be through, in, and with them all.
This month, the place in which we live — here in Fort Collins — will reverberate intensely with many different kinds of sounds and understandings of space and place as we welcome a series of artists and scientists to our community. A few blogs back, we posted a video of Wynton Marsalis, jazz artists extraordinaire performing The Ballad of the American Arts at the 22nd Annual Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts & Public Policy and taking the audience on a historical ride of cultural identity as performed through jazz. Jazz, as a musical form, has proven hard to define and even harder to agree upon in terms of its pedigree. Still most jazz critics and scholars agree on some critical characteristics of the music and the artists that produce it, such as the importance of improvisation, its ability to absorb and transform influences, its special relationship with time (the ‘swing’ rhythm), its fundamentally democratic creative nature in terms of the freedom given to performers to add their own ‘touch’ to a piece of music, and its grounding in collaborative, group interaction. Jazz spans a wide range of styles and continues to evolve in rhizomatic fashion due to these fundamental characteristics and the influences of those who play it as well as the places from which they come. You could say that jazz as a particular sound creates a space that many from diverse places can share.
From July 9-11, The Fort Collins Jazz Experience, hosted by the Downtown Business Association, welcomes the Ramsey Lewis Trio and Al Jarreau to our community. The Ramsey Lewis Trio will kick off the event at the Lincoln Center Performance Hall on Thursday, July 9 from 7:30pm with Al Jarreau following two nights later on Saturday, July 11 at the same location but starting at 8pm. Ramsey Lewis of course, is known as “The Great Performer” — a jazz icon, composer, pianist and radio personality while Al Jarreau is the only vocalist in history to win Grammys in jazz, pop and R&B. I am looking forward to hearing him use his voice as several diverse instruments!
Speaking of diverse instruments, on July 25, Doc Severinsen and El Ritmo de la Vida roll into town to bring us their own unique compositions featuring Doc on trumpet (he’s a virtuoso trumpeter and for a long time was the musical director of Johnny Carson’s big band on the Tonight Show as well as playing in major orchestras throughout the US and Canada), Gil Gutierrez on guitar and Pedro Cartas on violin. For a taste of what is to come in what has been called an ‘electrifying display of their virtuosity and blending of instruments’, click here. Doc and El Ritmo de la Vida will be at the Lincoln Center Performance Hall on Saturday, July 25 at 7:30pm. This trio got together when Doc visited Mexico thinking about retirement. Instead, he says, “…when I heard them play I knew that I would be playing with them for some time to come. Latino music, along with the blues, has always been among my favorites, and Gil and Pedro do it along with a European style that I love and so do our audiences.” The place of Mexico, opened up a new space for a new sound for all!
In between both these magical musical events, we have an equally enlightening discussion of life in space by Dr. Bob Phillips, Former NASA Space Station Chief Scientist at July’s Science Cafe on July 15 from 5:30pm to 7pm at the Stonehouse Grille. As usual, this event is free and will present some of the changes that occur in space flight and how and why we change form, function and behavior to accommodate this strange new environment. Dr. Phillips trained as a veterinarian and holds a PhD in physiology and nutrition. His life story and how he came to be involved with NASA and become an in-flight researcher on the first dedicated Biomedical Research Space Shuttle flight as well as how these experiences have fueled his work with NASA’s Life Science Education and Outreach program should make for a fascinating evening. We look forward to seeing you there, and please feel free to post a comment with any feedback you have from the evening!
Sound + Space = Place. Here’s to a wonderful July in Fort Collins and Northern Colorado!
Entrancing. Provocative. Celebratory. Poignant. Mythic. These are just some of the ways I have heard people in the community describe their engagement with the ideas and performances shared by the Imagination Fair and Laurie Anderson this past weekend. My family was downtown on Friday evening to capture the performances and music there on an early summer evening and witnessed the atmosphere created by That 1 Guy and others on the Oak Street Plaza. So caught up were we in the relaxed, fun filled atmosphere, we did not even make it to see what was happening at Opera Galleria! Others, however, journeyed on to be captivated by the Laser Harps and the works of local artists presented in CoCOA’s annual member exhibition at the Poudre River Arts Center as they voted on the People’s Choice Awards and celebrated our own local art community at the First Friday Gallery Walk.
Then on Saturday, a close to full house at the Lincoln Center witnessed the extraordinary talent of Laurie Anderson as she mixed music, metaphor, social commentary, light, life and air to fill that space with imagination, laughter and reflection. With stories ranging across the continent and beyond, Anderson enthralled the audience with accounts of small Amish boys learning to kiss without affection, hitch-hiking to the North Pole, staying in bed all day and teaching adult students at night school, narrowly escaping a hatchet and more successfully escaping the burn ward as a child, not to mention the precise performances of working at McDonald’s. She, the “ugly one with the jewels”, also spoke on indigenous people’s encounters with that strange tribe that calls themselves ‘anthropologists’, all the time reminding the audience of the ways we learn to be with each other and the multiple and diverse motivations for our actions, be they money, salvation, education and of course, self-preservation and identity.
Outlining “the stories of stories”, Anderson asked the audience “what are days for?” and to reflect on what some have described as the end of ‘American Empire’, when the people realized, like her little dog, that “attacks could come from above as well.” It was an evening of remembering (re-membering, or the ways in which we bring people from the back of our mind to the forefront of same) and forgetting, not to mention reflecting on what we choose to remember and forget in our stories. As I watched her skip lithely on stage to acknowledge her standing ovation for the third time, I dreamed that I might find myself at her age, capable of such wit, energy, art and love of life. It was an evening that will stay with me for a long time.
Tomorrow, the Science Café presents Dr Arlyn Andrews of the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Laboratories) in Boulder. Dr Andrews’ presentation is entitled “Carbon Detectives” and discusses her colleagues’ efforts to monitor and understand the global carbon cycle and the importance of taking quick action to reduce carbon dioxide pollution. The event is free and starts at 5:30pm at the Stonehouse Grille - we hope to see you there!
Don’t forget to leave us a comment on your experiences of these events – it would be great to hear from you!
I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.
The fewer expectations you have, the better.
Although we often separate art and science as distinct pursuits, innovative art and science are connected by the process of creative imagination. Throughout history, human imagination has consistently stretched the question of “why?” into the realm of “why not?” and in the process, adjusted our very concepts of reality. However you define it, Imagination, involves the process of reorganizing what we think we know. It’s the ability to question and risk seeing something outside the boundaries of what is “supposed,” to be—the rearranging of variables in new ways! Collectively, we often imagine someone like Albert Einstein, with his signature tousled hair, as a genius for his construction of knowledge and contributions to physics. Einstein published over 300 hundred scientific works, (and more than 150 non-scientific ones)—no small feat—he also said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For while knowledge defines all we currently know and understand, imagination points to all we might yet discover and create.” “
Another innovative thinker, Carl Sagan said, “Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere.” Where has your imagination taken you lately? This weekend you don’t have to physically travel very far to explore new possibilities, and stretch your imagination. At the free Beet Street Imagination Fair, downtown, Fort Collins, (June 5, 5-9 p.m.) you can experience performances and demonstrations that explode the boundaries of science and technology, art and music! This month’s First Friday Gallery Walk (the monthly, evening, opportunity to explore the visual art offerings in Old Town) has an added performance dimension where cutting edge technology meets artistic expression.
On Saturday, at the Oak Street Plaza, Christopher “C3” Cardone demonstrates that becoming an accomplished musician is not a destination, but the ticket to musically travel even further. He builds his own instruments to create an amazing range of sounds and rhythms. Don’t miss your opportunity to journey to his corner of the universe—you never know what will be included in his performance! Later, That 1 Guy, aka Mike Silverman, will continue to push the limits of making music. Silverman, a classically trained upright bassist, imagined and engineered a bass out of electronically wired steel plumbing in an effort to find the perfect sound. You’re invited to hear his solutions!
At Opera Galleria (123 North College), event partner, Discovery Science Center, Colorado’s NASA link site, will showcase NASA exhibits and “hands-on” activities. You can also see award-winning student science fair exhibits. The Poudre School District’s Alpine Robotics Team 159 (students from Poudre High School, Lincoln and Preston Junior Highs) will demonstrate their robotic inventions, and the CSU Engines and Energy Conservation Laboratory will showcase their low cost, high-performance cookstoves, engineered for the developing world. Imagine that! Kids of all ages are also invited to not only listen but “play” Laser Harps with traditional harp strings replaced by laser strings. The harps were designed so that large groups can play simultaneously, using interactive movement, dance, and light to trigger sound. The result? A visual and musical performance you won’t forget! Impact Dance Company will also join in for special collaborative performances at 5:30pm, 6:30pm, 7:30pm, 8:30pm.
Then on Saturday evening, creative pioneer, visual artist, composer, poet, photographer, filmmaker, electronics whiz, vocalist, and instrumentalist Laurie Anderson will be in Fort Collins to follow the Imagination Fair. Get your ticket to be transported by her Burning Leaves: A Retrospective, Songs and Stories 2009 at the Lincoln Center box office. Anderson, a self proclaimed “techno-geek,” spins offbeat adventure stories, in an intimate evening of voice, electronics and violin. Her songs and stories include pieces from her acclaimed solo shows The Speed of Darkness, Happiness, The End of the Moon, and Homeland. Among many accomplishments, in 2002, Anderson was appointed the first artist-in-residence of NASA—and you can hear some of her avant-garde interpretation of her adventures into that great unknown. Don’t be surprised if her surreal melodies and your imagination sweep you off on an unexpected trip!
Nothing happens without a start as a dream.
This is my favorite time of the year. I know I blogged earlier about festivals and summer but just this week, I have noticed a whole bunch of new cultural sprouts popping up in the community so I thought I would start with what I have seen around and then if you see some others, you could post them too and spread the word!
This weekend, Opera Fort Collins presents Il Trovatore or The Troubadour, at 7:30 pm on Friday and 2 pm on Sunday at the University Center for the Arts (Griffin Concert Hall), on Remington Street (which is a fabulous building by the way!). Tickets are $30/$40; $20 for CSU students and children ages 18 and younger. For more information, call 221-6730 or go to www.lctix.com.
If opera is not your thing, how about some Jane Austen? OpenStage Theatre kicks off their run of Pride and Prejudice (one of my all time favorite Austen books) at the Lincoln Center mini-theatre this weekend. There’s been many a movie based on this storyline and representing this storyline — who can forget Colin Firth as Mr Darcy! Ok, now I am showing some prejudice of my own! For more information about Pride and Prejudice, performances please visit OpenStage Theatre & Company , or for tickets please visit Lincoln Center Box Office. Don’t forget that this week is also your last chance to catch OpenStage’s presentation of The Maiden’s Prayer by Nicky Silver which runs Friday and Saturday at 8pm with their final matinee performance Sunday May 24 at 2pm. The Maiden’s Prayer is at the Center for Fine Art Photography: Black Box at 44 N. College Ave.
Finally in May, over at FCMOCA , they are hosting “Fort Collins Collects” from May 22 through to July 18. This exhibit runs in the main gallery and is joined in June by Joseph Rafael in the Mezzanine Gallery for a run through the rest of summer. If you need an art fix more frequently, don’t forget that FCMOCA also hosts “start your lunch break with an art break” every Wednesday at 12:15pm sharp where you can join a 15 minute guided talk about some of the objects on display. Don’t say we don’t try to inspire you!
As you know, June kicks off with Imagination Fair June 5th with That 1 Guy and Laser Harps and will take place in two locations in Old Town — Oak Street Plaza and Opera Galleria. In conjunction with the Imagination Fair, but separately presented, Laurie Anderson will perform her Burning Leaves show at the Lincoln Center on June 6, which will be outstanding! If you haven’t got your tickets yet, click here! We’re fighting over who will get to go and review her show!
The next weekend is one for the younger members of our community and kicks off with the Fossil Creek Park Bicycle Festival, featuring kids’ bike games, bike rides, food and all manner of cycling shenanigans! The festival runs from 11am-4pm. On Sunday, June 14, the Fort Collins Regional Library District presents A Victorian Sunday in the Park – an afternoon of music, song, vintage games and crafts, and historical bicycles, all provided by the Fort Collins Museum and Discovery Science Center and their friends, in the historic cabins of the museum’s courtyard. Bring your lunch as the afternoon’s fun starts at 12 and goes til 4pm! Or you might pop over to the Taste of Fort Collins event in the Civic Center Park beforehand and pick up some tasty treats to take to the picnic! There’s food (of course), music, kids games and tons of fun there too…. All in all, an excellent weekend to get out and see what we have at our fingertips in the community!
Right on the solstice, when Spring becomes Summer on June 20 and 21, the Fort Collins Irish Festival arrives in the Civic Center Park for the weekend and the Father’s Day 5k Run/Walk to benefit Northside Aztlan Community Center Youth Programs. The run starts at 8am with registration from 6:45-7:45am in Old Town Fort Collins. The Irish Festival has a special gift for the first 300 dads to enter its gates as well! Fun for the whole family!
Then, just in case, you haven’t had enough fun already, June 27 and 28, is……that’s right! Colorado Brewer’s Festival!!! Get ready! Proceeds from the Festival help to fund the Lucky Joe’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Santa Claus, The Holidays Downtown, free summer concerts, and the 4th of July Downtown. This is a reason in and of itself to attend, but in case you need some more persuading…. there will be music, 50 different Colorado beers, food and fun from 11am to 6pm on both days!
Phew! That’s what I have got coming up! If you have any other information on events in the community that you would like to share, please feel free to add them here in the comments and we can send out the word!
Remember – art is part of everyday life!
Over the next few weeks here in Fort Collins and Northern Colorado, we will be visited by several inspiring, determined and brave artists and scientists as we explore diverse forms of creativity across many realms of life. Tomorrow, Wednesday May 13, we will be amazed at Science Café to discover new forms of waste management using biogas technologies as Dr. Sybil Sharvelle, Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at CSU leads us in a discussion on renewable and renewing energies. Science Café will be held at the Stonehouse Grille from 5:30 to 7pm and is free to attend.
On Monday, May 18 at the Lincoln Center, Jeannette Walls, author of The Glass Castle, her bestselling memoir will share with us her story of struggle, determination and inspiration in a childhood characterized by hunger, love, poverty, beauty and chaos. Her story, as the latest in our series of Thought Leaders highlights the strength of the human spirit and its ever renewing and renewable energy and the power of inspiration to turn adversity to triumph. Once a reporter making her money from celebrity gossip, in The Glass Castle, Jeanette Walls turns the spotlight on her own life to show that indeed, truth can be stranger than fiction! Her work is used all over the nation in literature, psychology and child development courses; and Walls demonstrates to her audiences how everyone has a story and we are more alike than we think, suffering the same struggles, inspired by similar dreams and blessed with strong spirits. The conversation starts at 7pm with tickets available at www.lctix.com. Check out the audio interview here!
As schools get out and graduation caps get thrown in the air, June and its promise of summer also brings several events to lift our musical spirits and imaginations starting with the Imagination Fair on Friday June 5th, featuring Laser Harps and That 1 Guy. The Laser Harps are immersive installations that replace traditional harp strings with laser strings, using interactive movement, dance and light to trigger sound. The harps are designed to enable large groups to play simultaneously, resulting in a visual and musical performance to remember. That 1 Guy, alias Mike Silverman, is an upright bassist often hired as a one-man-rhythm-section, functioning as a bassist, drummer, and entire mini orchestra simultaneously. All in all, Imagination Fair presents the community with a vision of creation, innovation and imagination that merges science, technology, music and art in a thrilling variety of forms at three venues to enhance the First Friday Gallery Walk in downtown Fort Collins. I can hardly wait for this event – it sounds extraordinary!!!
Imagination Fair is closely followed by Laurie Anderson, one of the world’s premiere performance artists, on Saturday June 6, at the Lincoln Center. Anderson’s ability to personify innovation will move your heart and your mind. Over the next few weeks we will preview more of what is to come on June 6 but in the meantime, find out more about Laurie here and get ready to get some tickets quickly as she sells out fast!
“Laurie Anderson is a singer-songwriter of crushing poignance – a minimalist painter of melancholy moods who addresses universal themes in the vernacular of the commonplace.” Rolling Stone
Determined. Inspirational. Brave. We look forward to seeing you out and about in our community over the coming creative weeks!
With special thanks to h.koppdelaney for his image!